NYS TESOL Advocacy

    NYS TESOL Statement on Education Secretary Betsy DeVos' Proposal to Eliminate the Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA).

    As many of you are no doubt aware, there has been an idea proposed by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, to eliminate the Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA).

    As VP Advocacy, I want NYS TESOL members to be aware that we have taken the following actions: 

    Advocacy Committee discussions of new developments as well as the possible implications of this change on NYS TESOL members and others in our field at the state level,

    TESOL International Advocacy Summit 2018 discussions with attending members from many states in the US as well as a representative from Puerto Rico,

    Individual advocacy meetings where we discussed the concern over eliminating OELA with representatives from the following offices on Capitol Hill:

    Congresswoman Carol Meng (D-6th)

    Congressman Hakeem Jeffries (D-8th)

    Congressman Daniel Donovan (D-11th)

    Congressman Adriano Espaillat (D-13th)

    Congressman Joseph Crowley (D-14th)

    Congressman Jose Serrano (D-15th)

    Congressman Sean Maloney (D-18th)

    Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (D-21st)

    Senator Kirsten Gillibrand

    Senator Charles Schumer

    Please also see the following letter signed by our national level field organizations, including TESOL International:


    Also see this link for more information: (news articles)



    Please stay tuned as we continue to respond to this proposal.

    Curriculum and Standards

    Position Statement: Common Core Learning Standards and English Language Learners

    The Common Core Learning Standards (CCLS) present a particular challenge for English Language Learners (ELLs) because no provision has been made to address the development of academic language proficiency.

    Considering these challenges:

    • Educators must be aware that English, the medium of instruction, is a content area in and of itself. The simultaneous acquisition of English and other academic material requires ELLs to do double the work (Short & Fitzsimmons, 2007).
    • Expectations of successful mastery of grade-level standards must be aligned with student levels of English language proficiency. Research has shown that a five to seven year period is needed for ELLs to become proficient in academic English. In the case of ELLs without literacy skills or with interrupted education, developing English language proficiency can take as long ten years (Cummins, 1981; Thomas & Collier, 1997, 2001).
    • It is important to note that the CCLS states, "the Standards define what all students are expected to know and be able to do, not how teachers should teach" (The Common Core Learning Standards for English Language Arts, p. 6). In order to meet the needs of ELLs in both mainstream and ESOL settings, ongoing, current, research-based professional development must be provided by TESOL professionals. It is critical that all teachers be provided training for scaffolding and differentiating instruction for ELLs.
    • School curricula must be developed that are both aligned to the CCLS and differentiated to instruct students at all levels of English language proficiency.
    • Professionally prepared and fully certified ESOL teachers at the PreK-12 grade levels must be involved, both directly and in collaboration with classroom and content-area teachers, in planning and providing instruction.
    • Mainstream and ESOL teachers must be provided with scheduled time to collaborate and plan lessons employing best practices for teaching ELLs.
    • Administrators must support and implement the aforementioned practices in order to create optimal learning environments for ELLs (Boykin & Noguera, 2011).

    The New York State Education Department (NYSED) needs to develop and provide both administrators and teachers with clear guidelines based on the above recommendations to ensure that ELLs acquire academic proficiency in English and meet the CCLS.

    Adopted by the NYS TESOL Executive Board on June 9, 2012.


    Boykin, W. A., & Noguera, P. (2011). Creating the opportunity to learn:Moving from research to practice to close the achievement gap. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

    Cummins, J. (1981). Bilingualism and language minority children.Toronto, Ontario: Ontario Institute for Studies in Education.

    Short, D., & Fitzsimmons, S. (2007). Double the work: Challenges and solutions to acquiring language and academic literacy for adolescent English language learners—A report to Carnegie Corporation of New York. Washington, DC: Alliance for Excellent Education. Retrieved June 9, 2012 from: http://www.all4ed.org/files/DoubleWork.pdf

    Thomas, W. P., & Collier, V.P. (1997). School effectiveness for language minority students. Washington, D.C.: National Clearinghouse for Bilingual Education. Retrieved June 9, 2012 from: http://www.thomasandcollier.com/Downloads/1997_Thomas-Collier97.pdf

    Thomas, W. P., & Collier, V. P. (2001). A national study of school effectiveness for language minority students’ long-term academic achievement. Berkeley, CA: The Center for Research on Education, Diversity & Excellence. Retrieved June 9, 2012 from: http://www.crede.uesc.edu/research/llaa/1.1_final.html

    ESL Links

    • ESL Printables
      ESL Printables, the website where English Language teachers exchange resources: worksheets, lesson plans, teaching activities, etc.
    • Internet4Classrooms
      Standards Based -K-8 Grade Level Skills Website; Digital Teaching tools for teachers, parents and students. This site provides, ideas, lesson plans and much more.


    Social Studies Resources

    Literacy Resources

    Bilingual Learning Resources

    Adult ESL Resources

    Translation Resources


    Common Core Learning Standards (CCLS)

    CCLS: A Selective Webography compiled by NYS TESOL (revised Feb 2014)